tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC August 27, 2018 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
lawyers with bob mueller during the deliberations in his trial last week. that is new information courtesy of the "wall street journal," which broke the story and suggests mr. manafort may be thinking about alternatives to just sitting through these trials. now, that does it for us here on "the beat." "hardball" starts now. john mccain's final message. this is "hardball." good evening. i'm steve kornacki in for chris matthews. we begin a somber week across the nation from arizona to washington, d.c., americans mourning the passing of senator john mccain, the war hero, statesman, two-time presidential candidate whose career in congress spanned more than three decades. died saturday after a year-long battle with brain cancer in arizona. rick davis, he was mccain's
presidential campaign manager, read mccain's own words in a farewell statement today. it was penned by the senator and released only now after his death. in between the lines in this statement you could see clear references to the current president. >> fellow americans. that association has meant more to me than any other. i lived and died a proud american. we weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the colors of the globe. we weaken it when we hide behind walls rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been. do not despair of our present difficulties. we believe always in the promise and greatness of america because nothing is inevitable here.
americans never quit. we never surrender. we never hide from history. we make history. >> now, until this afternoon, nearly 48 hours after it was announced, the only words from president trump about senator mccain's death came in the form of a tweet expressing sympathy for the mccain family. the "washington post" reports that initially "trump nixed issuing a statement that praised the heroism and life of senator john mccain, telling senior aides he preferred to issue a tweet before posting one saturday night that did not include any kind words for the late arizona republican." the president apparently changed his mind, though. late today he released a new statement saying in part, "despite our differences on policy and politics, i respect senator john mccain's service to our country." earlier today the president had ignored questions about mccain at two different events. >> mr. president, any thoughts on john mccain? mr. president -- >> thank you. >> any thoughts on john mccain,
sir? >> thanks, everybody. let's go this way. >> mr. president, do you have any thoughts on john mccain? do you have any thoughts at all about john mccain? >> do you believe john mccain is a hero, sir? >> thank you. >> nothing at all about john mccain? >> we are showing you this and just getting word that the president apparently now has spoken publicly about senator mccain. we are scrambling to get those words to you as soon as we have them. should be momentarily. meanwhile, as we wait for that, the president also apparently had a change of heart when it came to that question of lowering the american flag to half staff at the white house. this morning it was returned, excuse me, to full staff. that was in a break of tradition, of keeping the flag lowered until burial to honor the passing of other sitting senators. but then this afternoon as that statement was released the
president ordered the flag returned to half staff. the american flag on capitol hill has remained at the half staff position in honor of the man whose willingness to buck his party earned him the nickname maverick earlier today. i had a chance to speak to ohio governor john kasich. he was a friend of mccain's. take a look. >> governor kasich, thank you for joining us. the latest now is that the flag at the white house again flying at half staff and the president putting out a statement saying despite our differences on policy and politics i respect senator john mccain's service to our country and in his honor signed a proclamation to fly the flag at half staff until the day of his interment. of course that had not been the case until the middle of this afternoon. what's your reaction to that news? >> great. great. i'm glad that the white house has decided to do that. and the president, you know, i'm pleased to see that he said we're going to put the flags back down and that he had kind words for jong mccaihn mccain.
i think that's really good. positive. >> what do you think of the delay? any other administration i can think of it wouldn't even have been an issue. >> i don't read people's minds. i can just say that across this country there is an outpouring from everybody to say that we should honor the life of this great man, a guy who's stood on principle, he was able to laugh at himself, he was able to reach out to people he didn't agree with. he was renowned all over the world. i just -- i think he was an incredible guy. and i'm so thrilled to see the outpouring. it's more than what i thought it would be. and i knew there would be an outpouring. but boy, it's international. and people are celebrating the life of somebody who figured out a way to stand on principle and still be able to befriend people, even those he didn't agree with. >> you say it's more than you thought it would be. why do you think that is? >> you never can -- you can never really always figure out how human beings are going to
react. i certainly didn't get my psychology degree in the mail last week. but i think that people are hungry for a sense of unity. i think i'm hungry for some peace in the valley. people are always attracted to extremes, on the left or the right. if you're ever in a car and you're driving down the highway and the traffic slows down you think, well, there must be a bad traffic accident. then by the time you get to where the slowdown is it's on the other side of the road. right? it's like people are always attracted to these things that can have sort of a negative energy to them. it's something about human nature. but people don't want to live in those extremes. people want to live where they can have peace and security and unity. so while we may be attracted to the flash and the dash, sort of like take a walk on the wild side, you might remember that old song by lou reed, the fact of the matter is we like to live where we can have peace, where we can get along, when we can
really care about one another. and i think this is a moment where the world is catching its breath and saying thank god for a guy who showed us how to do it. >> john mccain showed the world how to do that. he's not going to be obviously unfortunately a part of the political discourse going forward within your party, within the republican party. give me some names, who is there to provide that example? >> no, this is not a time to be thinking about, you know, any of that. this is a time to think about the life of john mccain. after a while if people are inspired appropriately because i think there's going to probably be more of a series of books and maybe a movie about his life because it's a compelling life that people would want to see, that even though he's died his life ended well and he had his head high and was surrounded by his family. and you know, what comes next, that's for another day. this is a week to reflect and think about what he has meant. and it will inspire not just people who are in public life
today but it may get some of these young people to really be inspired. and we need that. we need people to say that i can make a difference, no matter what i'm doing i can make a difference in the way the world turns. and that would be i think the message of john mccain. by the way, he's also a faithful man. i called john soon after he was diagnosed, and i was concerned about him. i said, john, what about you and the big guy? he said, "johnny," as he always called me, johnny, "you don't have to worry about that. i'm all squared away." and so a man of faith, a man who loved his country, a man who loved his family and loved his friends, and he could get in the ring and battle with the best of them. but at the end he shook hands and held his head high. >> all right. ohio governor john kasich. thank you for taking a few minutes. >> steve, thank you. senator john mccain was a decorated war veteran. as we said, an accomplished political maverick. that was his reputation. certainly as praise continues to pour in from across the nation and around the world, one man as we said until this afternoon,
and again this evening had remained muted on this. that was the president. donald trump. and of course there is a history here. you are probably well aware of it. the two of them first clashing when the arizona senator first criticized the then presidential candidate trump for his characterization of mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, that back in 2015. trump, who according to the "washington post" continually said that mccain was not a friend, then hit back at the senator. >> he's not a war hero. >> he's a war hero. 5 1/2 years -- >> he's a war hero because he was captured. i like people that weren't captured. okay? >> the background on that, of course, back in the spring of 1968 donald trump, son of a wealthy new york state real estate developer, received the first in a series of what would turn out to be five deferments from the war in vietnam. meanwhile, at the same time, it was a young captain mccain who was beaten within an inch of his life while in captivity in vietnam. the "washington post" also reporting that the president
continues to believe privately that mccain was not a war hero. for more, joined by susan page, "usa today," washington bureau chief, george f. will, syndicated columnist and msnbc contributor. thanks to both of you for being with us. and i mentioned again, the president had been muted. i said at the top of the broadcast we're getting word that at this hour the president in fact is hosting some evangelical leaders at the white house. he just told them according to our reporting that "our hearts and prayers are going out to the family of senator john mccain and we very much appreciate everything senator mccain has done for our country." so the president apparently telling that just now to evangelical leaders in the white house, putting out that statement this afternoon, offering his respect for the late senator. but susan page, it is interesting. it was nearly 48 hours after news of john mccain's passing nat president took this new shift in tone here. there had been a day, basically a day of advanced warning from the mccain family that this was happening. i think safe to say -- i can't
think of another leader in either party who in trump's position right now as president would have had this delay. what do you make of it? >> i think it's inexplicable. it does no damage at all to john mccain. it does damage only to president trump. by having this sort of delay for someone who is of course an american hero and someone who served the nation in the military and in the senate. i think it's remarkable it took this long to get him to do even the kind of cursory statement you just read honoring senator mccain's service. and i wonder if it was the almost universal outrage including by the american legion this afternoon that finally persuaded the president that he should take this step and also lower the flags to half staff until the burial on sunday. >> and george will, in that interview with governor kasich he said he was surprised by the level of the outpouring here at john mccain's passing. i do wonder, he didn't offer an opinion on this but i wonder if
you would. is there an instinct there on the part of some folks who are mourning senator mccain right now to connect the example of his life, his story, we talk about the the contrast there in the vietnam era, to that of the current president? >> i think that's right. i think the president's behavior is not admirable. but i disagree with susan. i think it's entirely explicable. mr. trump is a man of des sxrat transparent and obvious insecurities. and for a man like that, he is after all a weak person's idea of a strong person, the life of john mccain is front to back a reproach to the kind of life that's been led by mr. trump. so i think there's been a tension there, a kind of almost chemical repelling between the two of them, and it persists as you would expect with mr. trump into the realm of bad taste. >> susan page, that question too of going forward i think it's
safe to say there's only one john mccain, there will only ever be one john mccain. but that moral authority he was able in some ways i think to bring to politics just because of the sacrifice he'd given in his own life for this country, staying in that prison in hanoi even when he was given the option of going out, coming into the political arena that gave him a level of moral authority we're not used to seeing. can you think of anybody else out there, democrat, republican right now, who could even begin to approach that? >> well, you know, of course the experience that he had as a p.o.w. stands alone as a singular thing. and as you say, when the topic came to things like torture, no one had the authority that john mccain had to state his views. but i do think we make a mistake in thinking that -- john mccain didn't arrive his first day in the senate and be a figure of enormous influence and respect. that was built over time, and he gained authority over time by how he behaved in the senate. and it is entirely possible that we're going to see other
senators step up to achieve things, to reach across party lines, to stand on principle. that is not something that is the limited province of john mccain. it's hard in these days because we are so -- john mccain's farewell statement talked about dangers of falling into tribalism. we have definitely fallen into some tribalism here in washington. but that doesn't mean that there couldn't be someone who emerges and will be people who emerge with moral authority in the future. >> and george will, i've heard some folks that bemoaning that john mccain represented a bygone era of republicanism. although i'm thinking of the 2000 presidential campaign right here. the republican party establishment right here certainly didn't seem to have much use for john mccain. bigger picture, if somebody says john mccain, republican, what does that term mean? what is the legacy of that term? >> what john mccain brought was traditional republican values. remember, he came from barry
goldwater's state and barry g d goldwater really founded in politics the american conservative movement in the post-war period. limited government. but what goldwater and mccain had in common was honest passion. lord knows we're awash in the synthetic sort that bubbles up all the time. someone has said that the difference between professional wrestling, of course an arena from which mr. trump also comes, that the similarity between professional wrestling and american politics is the absence of honest passion. john mccain had a legendary temper because he felt strongly about all kinds of things and didn't feel he particularly had to suppress the manifestation of his strong feelings, which gave him a certain authenticity and integrity that made people respond to him. >> all right. george will, susan page, thank you both for joining us. and coming up, president trump is continuing to lash out at the justice department this weekend. he threatened once again to "get involved" in an investigation as
the nrk"the new york times" dece seems to be at war with the law according to the "times." plus where does trump's approval rating stand after a politically harrowing week even by trump's standards? i'm going head over to the big board. we've got? brand new numbers. they may surprise you. they may not. and where does the gop go from here with the passing of senator john mccain? arizona governor doug doocy needs to make a successor. the big question-l to be someone in the mold of john mccain or someone more like donald trump? and finally, let me finish tonight with how senator mccain got that reputation as a political maverick in the first place. look forward to that. this is "hardball," where the action is. this is "hardball," where the action is. not so cute when they're angry. and we covered it. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two.
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because we all negotiate tough. i like to call this deal the united states-mexico trade agreement. i think it's an elegant name. i think nafta has a lot of bad connotations for the united states because it was a ripoff. it was a deal that was a horrible deal for our country. >> however, this agreement will not go into effect until canada, who the president threatened with automobile tariffs today, signs on and also until congress ratifies the deal. we'll be right back. back. tom's my best friend, but ever since he bought a new house... tom: it's a $10 cover? oh, okay. didn't see that on the website. he's been acting more and more like his dad. come on, guys! jump in! the water's fine! tom pritchard. how we doin'? hi, there. tom pritchard. can we get a round of jalapeño poppers for me and the boys, please? i've been saving a lot of money with progressive lately, so... progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents. but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us. introducing zero account fees for brokerage accounts. and zero minimums to open an account.
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when did brian move back in? brian's back? he doesn't get my room. he's only going to be here for like a week. like a month, tops. oh boy. wi-fi fast enough for the whole family is simple, easy, awesome. in many cultures, young men would stay with their families until their 40's. welcome back to "hardball." at the end of a week that featured criminal convictions for paul manafort and a guilty plea by michael cohen, president trump over the weekend took aim at the fbi. the president tweeting out new accusations against hillary clinton and the fbi saying that "at some point i may have to get involved." this comes after trump suggested last week that he could potentially assume control of the mueller probe, telling reuters that "i can go in and i could do whatever. i could run it if i want." "the new york times" rebuking
trump for these kinds of comments, writing "in his attempt at self-defense amid the swirl of legal cases and investigations involving himself, his aides and his associates, mr. trump is directly undermining the people and processes that are the foundation of the nation's administration of justice. the result is a president at war with the law." again, "the new york times" there. all of this coming amid new questions on whether jeff session wills remain in his post as attorney general. after standing firmly behind sessions, republicans now appear more willing or open at least to replace him. joined now by paul butler, former u.s. attorney and msnbc legal analyst, and shannon pettypiece, a white house correspondent for bloomberg news. shannon, let me start with you. the president, a lot of different ways i guess to look at that tweetstorm if you want to call it that that he went on over the weekend. is he trying to distract from the news of the week? is he blowing off steam? is he trying more broadly to simply discredit these agencies that he thinks are going after him? but my question to you is do we
know of tangible specific things he may be considering to do in line with those things that he's tweeting? >> well, there certainly is an effort by him and his lawyers to launch a very clear public relations attack on mueller, on mueller's team of investigators, on the fbi, on anyone who has touched this investigation, on any witness like michael cohen who might speak out against him. the president's lawyer rudy giuliani is very clear that he feels he is waging a public relations war, that this is not a closed-door investigation, this is a public investigation. and so they see this as being the only way to prevent impeachment really, that if the democrats can take control of the house the president's allies feel that impeachment is inevitable and the only way to stop that is to unleash these continual public relations attack against this entire investigation. >> right. so paul, describing a political strategy there basically saying
anything we are hit with here legally ultimately impeachment's a political question, if you can keep republicans in line in the house and the senate, even if democrats win back the majority this november, probably wouldn't have a 2/3 majority to get rid of him. so if that's the bottom line there, i'm curious, from a prosecutor's standpoint, if you're investigating somebody who is employing a very highly public political strategy, does that affect your work as a prosecutor, as an investigator at all? >> normally it wouldn't because at the end of the day the people who would decide the fate of that politician would be a jury of his or her peers. the president of the united states is the only person who that doesn't apply to because the justice department will follow its guidelines. not written in the constitution. an interpretation that a sitting president can't be indicted. so in that sense the strategy is correct. it should be a political strategy rather than a criminal strategy. that's good news maybe for president trump. but it's bad news for the rule of law. the president's view is that the -- he directs, he owns as it
is the attorney general and the director of the fbi. he thinks they owe him a pledge of loyalty. he thinks he should be able to direct political prosecutions against his perceived enemies like james comey and hillary clinton. he thinks he should be able to dole out pardons as political favors. that's not the kind of america or the kind of leader that the framers of the constitution imagined. >> and shannon, what paul's mentioning there about the attorney general, about jeff sessions, that's the other thing that's come into focus again in the last couple of days because of comments from the president and from sessions for that matter. but jeff sessions staying on as attorney general. some signals from republican senators that potentially now maybe they're open to replacing him. what is his status right now? how do you read it? >> yeah. the president's allies in congress have sent a strong signal, do not do anything before the november midterms. there's enough distractions the president creates every day. they have said do not make this an issue before the november midterms. but after the november midterms there's the signal that sort of
all bets are off. lindsey graham came out and said that, again, he does not think the president should do anything before november but afterwards he said that he feels the president has the right to have an attorney general who he trusts. if the republicans maintain control of the house or close control, i think all bets are off for sessions, that the president could fire him, that he has been given the signal that that would be okay. and if you don't have democratic control of the house i think he will feel there won't be major repercussions for it. >> there's also some new reporting tonight that donald trump's former campaign chairman paul manafort was briefly willing to consider a deal with the special counsel aimed at forestalling the next trial manafort faces in washington. the "wall street journal" reporting that "manafort's defense team held talks with prosecutors but they didn't reach a deal and the two sides are now moving closer to a second trial next month. one person familiar with the matter telling the journal that the plea talks on the second set of charges stalled on issues raised by special counsel robert
mueller. it isn't clear what those issues were and the proposed terms of the plea deal couldn't immediately be determined." paul, a lot of moving parts here. the trial that completed last week with some convictions. the trial pending later on. what do you make of this report? >> what i make is that the loyalty pledge that comey wouldn't take manafort apparently has taken. very solid evidence in the second case. in the first case he was convicted on eight charges, eight times a convicted felon right now. jury 11-1 for conviction on the other charges. why is he going to trial here if he could buy himself with a deal some time off? maybe he's having these conversations in part about pleaing all about the benjamins, really expensive to go to trial. that shouldn't be a factor but for most people it is. he's got a legal defense fund. don't know how well it's doing since again he's probably going to lose the second trial. >> but shannon, another piece is at the end of last week we certainly were reporting what
sounded like some pretty strong, pretty clear signals from the trump side to manafort about a potential pardon down the road. so to hear those signals and then get reporting of a possible plea deal breaking down for some reason. we're not exactly sure what happened there. in terms of that possibility of a pardon, what are you hearing out of the white house? >> well, i mean, the president signaled very strongly his sympathy toward manafort. he called him a good man. he felt what had happened to him had been very unfair. these are similar words he has used against other people he has pardoned, talking about the unfairness of their trial. pardons are sort of like the p word around trump's legal team and his inner circle. nobody wants to go there. even sort of on background as a person familiar with the situation. but they would -- you know, they would give a wink and a nod to think yes, that there certainly could be a pardon for paul manafort at some point. but also with the november elections people have cautioned,
i know close to the president not to do this before the november elections because of how it could be politicized by the democrats. >> really quickly, i do think that trump -- or that manafort is counting on a pardon from trump. that explains some of his actions. but can anybody trust donald trump? >> it's interesting too. as shannon's saying, the president apparently being told a couple of big things he's warned not to do before november. we will see if he hews to that advice. paul butler, shannon pettypiece, thanks for joining us p. up next we will take a field trip to the big board. brand new "wall street journal" poll numbers. we'll get our first look at how americans are reacting to that even by trump's standards stormy week we just went through politically. this is "hardball," where the action is. this is "hardball," where the action is. age-related macular degeneration, amd, i wanted to fight back. my doctor and i came up with a plan. it includes preservision. only preservision areds 2 has the exact nutrient formula recommended by the national eye institute
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all right. if you're watching this show, if you're watching this network, if you're watching cable news i probably don't need to recap what happened last week. but just in case you've forgotten by now the president's former campaign chairman paul manafort, he was found guilty in federal court last week on the same day and practically at the same time that michael cohen was pleading guilty and saying in court that the president directed him to commit a crime aimed at concealing, covering up a politically damaging extramarital affair in the political campaign in 2016. the question becomes wow, that is even by the standards of this era, that's a big news day,
that's a big news week. how are people reacting to it? well, funny, we've got a new poll. we can take you through it. we got our first readout. this is the interesting thing. nbc news, "wall street journal" they were taking their normal poll about ten days ago, just before all of this happened and here's what the readout looked like. donald trump's approval rating sitting at 46%. by the way, 46%, that's not great historically. there's more who disapprove certainly. but that number would have been and was the highest that nbc news and the "wall street journal" have measured since trump became president. but you see the dates on that. the 18th to 22nd of august. that was before everything i just mentioned happened. so they kept the poll out there for a few more days. let's see what happens here. let's let the news sink in. let's let people process it. is there going to be a big change in the president's approval rating as they process these bombshell developments really is what this was. take a look. the answer, not to a major degree. 46 went down to 44. 51 went up to 52.
again, you look at trump's poll numbers, they've been as low as mid 30s. he's sitting at 44. we'll see. maybe the numbers will go down further. maybe they will steady out here. maybe even somehow they will go up, they will bounce back up a little bit. but early on not a lot of immediate political damage in terms of the president's approval rating. and if that reminds you of anything, one thing is you can think back 20 years ago. bill clinton, he was accused of committing a crime to cover up a politically damaging extramarital affair. the crime he was accused of was perjury. it led republicans to impeach him. but bill clinton, he was saved in 1998. you saw some similar headlines there. why was bill clinton saved in 1998? he was saved because at every major plot point in that story, from the accusation of the affair to having to admit it to being accuse of perjury, his approval rating kept going up. there was a backlash against that push to impeach him. that is a big difference right here. bill clinton was already popular in 1998 when these stories broke. the approval rating kept going
up. trump, his numbers not dropping yet but starting off a lot lower than bill clinton and is it does raise a possibility if you get to the november midterms, if republicans take it on the chin in november, we'll see if they do but if they do republicans in congress would be in a different position than democrats ever were with bill clinton. they would have to look at these stories and have to say hmm, maybe there is a public turning against the president. how would they respond to that? that might be the big if here. his numbers at least initially in our polling not collapsing. the headline from that poll. up next, senator john mccain has left some big shoes to fill in the u.s. senate. it's up to one man, the republican governor of arizona, to decide who will now take that seat. you're watching "hardball." seat you're watching "hardball.
best hope of earth for the sake of some half-baked spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems -- [ cheers and applause ] -- is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that americans consigned to the ash heap of history. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was senator john mccain last year accepting the liberty medal award for his lifetime of sacrifice and service. it will now be up to arizona's republican governor doug ducey to choose who will fill mccain's senate seat until the elections of 2020. some names already being floated include senator mccain's widow cindy. cindy mccain, former arizona senator jon kyl. he served with mccain from 1995 to 2013. former seven-term arizona congressman john shad ig. former arizona congressman matt salmon who retired from congress
last year. and governor ducey's chief of staff kirk adrmz. for more joined by our round table noel nickpoor. director of strategic communications for hillary for america. and eddie glaude, a princeton professor and msnbc contributor. noel' no noelle, look at that list. is it the mold of mccain, somebody willing to break with the party a little bit versus somebody who's more in the mold of alliance with donald trump? when you look at that list, what do you see? >> gosh. i've got to be honest with you. this is a very hard spot for ducey to be in because you've got to basically pick somebody to replace john mccain, great john mccain, that is going to stay true to his seat and his thoughts and his mannerisms versus what's going on with the trump party pretty much. it's a very hard place.
i don't envy his position. i think the best choice in my opinion as a republican strategist would be cindy mccain. and the reason why i say that is because nobody is going to be upset. she is not only his widow and believes the same things he does but you've also got to look that she was on the stump with him. she knows his donors. she knows his constituents. she has been around with him as his partner and she already can fit into that position quite well. that would be my choice. >> it's interesting the question of the spouse succeeding the other spouse who passes away. haven't had one in a long time. i went back and looked. '92. 1992 was the last time we had a senator who died. it was quinton burdock from north dakota. i think the most famous example was muriel humphrey the widow of hubert humphrey. but it's been a long time. how would that go over? cindy mccain being appointed for john mccain. >> i think it would feel go over very well.
but when you're governor ducey, number one, he's in re-election, right? he's in cycle right now. he's got a very tough decision politically for him because on the one hand i think as a conservative who is very aligned with the trump effort and the trump movement he's going to anger the moderates who want to see someone who has the stature of john mccain, who want to see a cindy mccain tape. of course if you appoint cindy mccain you're going to anger the trump people. he's got a really difficult problem op his hands in that situation. i think i've heard from some arizona insiders that jon kyl might be the safe bet. right? because he is a senior statesman. he's held the seat before. number two, this person will have to run effectively for re-election. unless they just simply decide to serve out the term in to 20 and then step down and let there be an open seat. >> the idea that kyl maybe gets a little bit into each cam. and has the stature. i've been hearing that name a lot. meanwhile, the democratic national committee, news on this interesting front too. they voted this weekend to
dramatically reduce the power and influence of superdelegates in the party's nomination process. that overcame objections from a vocal minority of the dnc's membership. the change will prohibit superdelegates from voting for a nominee at the democratic convention unless the process becomes deadlocked. in other words, they don't vote on the first ballot. dnc chairman tom perez called it a historic day for the democratic party saying "we passed major reforms that will not only put our next presidential nominee in the strongest position possible but will help us elect democrats up and down the ballot across the country." eddie, let me ask you about this. i'm fascinated by this. the superdelegates started in 1984. every time you've started to get a close democratic race, which has happened a few times since then, you hear the complaints about the loft people is going to be subverted by the superdelegates. we've never actually had the deadlock scenario in the superdelegate era. i'm looking at this democratic field for 2020 saying if there's 20 people out there it doesn't seem crazy, 20 democrats out there running, is this going to be the one cycle when you actually need the
superdelegates, you you need somebody to break a tie? >> well, i'm not sure. what i do know is this. in the 2016 election there was grumbling that the process was rigged because most folks say that hillary clinton was way ahead because many of the superdelegates had already committed before one vote was cast. the second thing we would say -- i would say is this, is that young voters, young democratic voters, the folks who are out there in virginia, out there in alabama, the folks who are organizing, knocking on doors, there was at least a deep suspicion and skepticism about the superdelegates. if they did not make a change, that skepticism would have deepened even more. and they need those foot soldiers. they need them to turn out -- >> arguing for the idea of everybody's got a stake in democracy, everybody's got to vote, it's a hard thing to sell from that angle. but again, i'm looking at it. you could always say you'll go broke betting on the brokered convention. it never actually happens. and i'm actually looking ahead to 2020 --
>> 20 possible candidates, right? >> you'll need it. >> exactly. these were huge reforms. tom perez, i condemned him for his leadership on this. there was obviously a lot of resistance. but this was a way to unify the party here and make it clear to all the democratic voters out there, even those who are not part of the democratic party but who were hoping to pull in, independents, college educated republican women, going into 2020 to say you know what, the party activists, the party stalwarts are not going to be the ones making this decision now. we know in 2016 superdelegates did not make the decision of course. but there was a perception out there. a misperception but still a perception out there that they had undue influence. this is completely ridding our party -- >> but if you got -- if you have a scenario here where candidate a has got 1600 delegates, candidate b's got 1550 and the magic number's 2,000 and nobody wins it on the first ballot and then suddenly now they introduce this flood of superdelegates and
the winning margin -- in this day and age would that outcome be accepted as -- >> well, it could. i was on hillary clinton's 2008 campaign and part of my job in the last few months of the campaign was to corral superdelegates to support her. in this scenario, we've not had a scenario like this in god knows how long, what the gop primary went through in 2016, with that many candidates. but again, at the same time that is irrelevant to me. what matters is tom perez is showing that he is bringing the party together, he is unifying. this is very important to get bernie sanders supporters to come back into the field and to support tom perez as chairman and also to feel that they are an inclusive part of the democratic -- >> i do feel there's a bit of a lesson on the republican side. they don't have superdelegates but we talked so much in 2016. remember the unpledged delegates. and there was that idea for a while the republican establishment, if they could keep trump just below that magic number they could override it with that. it seemed like there was a
lesson there of republicans theoretically having some power to at least make it difficult for trump but resisting because they said they feared the idea that their voters wouldn't accept it. >> oh, yeah. and it's a culture of corruption. i mean, with these delegates it is -- to your point, the schmoozing, the things you have to do, it's almost like one is trying to bribe more and trying to do this. it is really a corrupt i think process. >> an outdated process. >> it really is. hats off to you that you had to do that. it's tough. it really is. i just think it breeds -- it's just a slimy part of the election process if you ask me. >> eddie, does this -- you talk about those bernie voters, those young folks in particular, that was where the noise was coming from in 2016. but does this -- does this bring peace to the democratic party? >> it certainly is one huge step towards peace. the idea that the superdelegates, these folks who are politicians, folks who are
perceived to be in the pocket of wall street, these folks who behind closed doors were making decisions before one vote is cast, right? these folks are objects of skepticism. they're the republican light folks, as some of the activists believe. and if these folks are going to be on the ground, that is, the young folk. if they're going to be on the ground working hard for the democratic party, working hard for a progressive agenda, they need to believe that the dnc is actually -- >> every single vote counts and is not influenced by party -- >> all right. the round table is staying with us. up next these three will tell me something i don't know. you're watching "hardball." something i don't know you're watching "hardball. an energy company helping cars emit less. making cars lighter, it's a good place to start, advanced oils for those hard-working parts. fuels that go further so drivers pump less. improving efficiency is what we do best. energy lives here. improving efficiency is what we do best.
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the president paid tribute tonight to john mccain during a dinner with evangelical leaders. let's watch what he had to say. >> also hearts and prayers are going to the family of senator john mccain. going to be a lot of activity over the next number of days. and we very much appreciate everything that senator mccain has done for our country. so thank you very much. [ applause ] >> we'll be right back. "i don't want to hear about insurance." cause let's be honest, nobody likes dealing with insurance, right? which is why esurance hired me, dennis quaid, as their spokesperson because apparently, i'm highly likable. i like dennis quaid. awww. and they want me to let you know that, cue overdramatic music, they're on a mission to make insurance painless. excuse me, you dropped this.
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back with the "hardball" round table. noelle, tell me something i don't know. >> i'm going to give you a prediction. i think the solid blue state of connecticut for the first time is going to turn red. they had a huge primary. bob stephenousky killed it. he trounced it. he's a businessman. he's a moderate. and i think you're going to see that state flip from blue to red. >> governor's race there, dan
milloy not running again. low popularity. >> still focusing on john mccain. everybody knows hillary clinton and john mccain took vodka shots together and worked together in the senate. but a lot of people don't know they both have this huge mutual respect for each other because they both have grit and determination. they worked together quietly behind the scenes for years in the senate. she actually has a signed photo behind her desk of her and john mccain in her current office in new york city. and they just had a really special bond. >> interesting. eddie. >> i'm just thinking about 50 years ago, 1968, the year i was born, that it was a time of tremendous turmoil. russia, the soviet union invading czechoslovakia. students striking in france in may. the murder of dr. martin luther king jr. but all across the world everyday ordinary folk were striking back against the powers that be. here we are 50 years later, there's a deep disquiet at the heart of the country, at the heart of the world. we might see some of that tumult again. >> interesting. 1968. probably the most eventful year in modern history certainly.
it's crazy now. thank you, noelle nikpoor, adrienne elrod, and eddie glaude. when we return senator mccain's origin story as a maverick. you're watching "hardball." rick you're watching "hardball. ♪ a hotel can make or break a trip. and at expedia, we don't think you should be rushed into booking one. that's why we created expedia's add-on advantage. now after booking your flight, you unlock discounts on select hotels right until the day you leave. ♪ add-on advantage. discounted hotel rates when you add on to your trip.
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with the name john mccain, and that is "maverick." where did that reputation come from? well, it's on my mind because i just wrote about it. it's part of my new book "the red and the blue," which will hit bookstores in a month. it can be reordered now if you're interested. the story of mccain the political maverick, though, it really takes shape in the year 1999. a goliath is looming over the republican presidential field. george w. bush and his machine. obliterating fund-raising records, monopolizing endorsements, practically every big name governor is on board the bush machine. bush intimidating one candidate after another out of that race. never in either party has a candidate built such a massive machine so early in the process. but there is someone who is not intimidated by it. somebody who steps forward happily, eagerly, almost like he enjoys this kind of thing to try to play the role of david. and it is john mccain. he is 63 years old at the time. he has been in washington for nearly two decades. but it's the late 1990s and
early 2000 that most americans find out what he's really all about as a politician. his biggest issue is campaign finance reform. no one really cares about the details. but the symbolism is powerful. here's bush hauling in huge sums of cash, and here's mccain refusing to play the same game, thumbing his nose at the system, even though it means he'll have just a fraction of the money. and people start to take note. they start to see a politician who maybe seems to have some principles. mccain talks about things that no one else is talking about. he talks about honor, about service, about the idea of being part of a cause greater than yourself. he connects his own political mission to his sacrifice in vietnam. and for one magical moment it all comes together. february 1st, 2000, when the unbeatable bush machine is stopped dead in its tracks in new hampshire, crushed by john mccain and his shoestring budget by 20 points. in that moment it actually feels like mccain might run away with the whole thing. the republican nomination, the presidency. it wasn't to be, though.
some ugly stuff in south carolina may have played a role there. years later john mccain of course finally did win the republican nomination. but politically i'm not sure he had a finer moment than that night in new hampshire in 2000 when mccain the maverick was born and when everything seemed possible. that is "hardball" for now. thank you for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in" -- >> mr. president, any thoughts on john mccain? >> the white house bows to public pressure. relowering its flag for john mccain. >> mr. president, any thoughts on john mccain? >> thanks, everybody. let's go this way. >> tonight the party of trump and the death of senator john mccain. plug, congressman adam schiff on the secret list of trump scandals republicans refuse to investigate. then -- >> did you know about the payments? >> later on i knew. >> the president's state dinner with